Mark Pickup


March 7, 2016

In my last column I wrote that I was preparing to deliver a keynote address on physician-assisted suicide at St. Matthew the Apostle Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Since then, I delivered that speech.

I told the American audience about Canada's hideous Supreme Court decision requiring that physician-assisted suicide be made available across the nation. Not only were people stunned that our Supreme Court would do such a thing, they were appalled to learn about the broad parameters of the high court's low decision.

A new phase of human killing is about to begin where doctor and executioner merge into one. Like Alice in Wonderland, Canada is about to jump down a dark rabbit hole. Where it ends, nobody knows.

The rabbit hole is deep - more like an abyss. The ominous implications of Canada's plunge into physician-assisted suicide are frightening for people like me who are incurably ill and disabled.

As with abortion, the blessed Catholic Church is once again standing in the gap between life and death, trying to defend the most vulnerable of humanity. As with abortion, the Catholic Church will face the ire of the liberal secular press and rampant nihilism.

Independent personal autonomy has replaced interdependent community. Individualism and the mantra of "choice" have replaced the common good.

The Church is decried as being out of step with the times. But the times are out of step with the history of western Christian civilization, common law spanning centuries, and the higher truth of natural law that has always existed.

Throughout more than two millennia, the Catholic Church has shone the spiritual and moral light of Christ during dark times. But humanity often refuses to come into the light.

Jesus said, "The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed" (John 3.19-21).

I believe this is why the Catholic Church has been hated.


Despite intensifying opposition, the Church still brings God's truth to the world. We should not be surprised at the increasing hatred and opposition shown toward the Catholic Church and her ministries.

Remember, the world first hated Christ. We should expect no difference. It is a benchmark showing we are aligned with Christ and not the world.

Again, Jesus said, "Those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God" (John 3.21). An anti-Catholic column recently appeared in The Edmonton Journal under the title: "If Covenant Health won't obey law, it shouldn't get public funds to run public hospitals."

Columnist Paula Simons acknowledged that Covenant Health operates 23 hospital and nursing homes in Alberta, has two major active treatment hospitals in Edmonton and provides 90 per cent of the total palliative care beds in the Edmonton region.

She then stated that if Covenant Health refuses to provide abortions or physician-assisted suicide, it should be cut from provincial health care funding.


Simons does not seem to understand that Catholicism is rooted in ancient Scriptures and tradition and Christian morals dating back 2,000 years centuries before Canada's Supreme Court or Canada itself existed.

Catholic institutions will not kill for money or threats to withhold money.

Simons does not explain how the province would make up the massive shortfall in medical care if Covenant Health had to fold or if the Church was forced out of health care.

She said that not providing assisted suicide to suicidal sick or disabled people is cruel.


No, it's not. I am incurably ill and disabled. I need to know there are Catholic health care facilities that will always hold up my innate value, even if I have ceased to believe in my own value. I need to know there are people who will refuse to euthanize me if they hear me express a death wish when I am at my lowest point.

My family can rest assured that my life in the care of Covenant Health is protected and safe, regardless of what any court may decree. That assurance is priceless.